Welcome back for another Cut Short Interview, where this month I’ll be talking to not one, but TWO minds behind one of the movies from last month’s batch of short horror films. Matt Sullivan and Chris La Vigna served as director and writer (respectively) for Dead Air, the heavy metal ghost story about Rockin’ Roxanne’s return to the small-town radio station where she died under mysterious circumstances years before. This short was a hell of a lot of fun, so I was interested to find out from Sullivan and La Vigna how it came together (since there were two of them, I gave up each a hundred words to work with).
What was the inspiration for Dead Air and Rockin’ Roxanne?
Matt Sullivan: A conversation while recording our show “Terror TV.”
Chris La Vigna: Matt and I talked about wanting to set a horror story in a radio station.
Did you get to shoot in an actual radio station? What’s the story there?
CLV: We shot in 88.1 WARY-FM, Westchester Community College’s radio station.
There’s a lot of great music that calls back to ’80s hard rock/hair metal. Who was behind the music in the film?
MS: “DangerHole” on the title track and Roxanne’s song (my wife sang vocals on that). Other bands included “Station,” “Babe Patrol” and “Grandpa.”
You managed to throw in a few subplots (something you don’t often see in a short film) including a rather menacing fellow doing some grisly handy work. What were you going for with these snippets of side stories?
MS: Showing Roxanne’s power over the air waves and how it affected everyone listening.
What made you get into film making?
MS: Watching bad movies on VHS late at night and MonsterVision.
CLV: My first high school video class.
Who (or what) is your biggest influence in film. Why?
MS: George Romero. He proved anyone can do it!
CLV: Wes Craven. His films were vicious, frightening, and funny, but always had heart.
What’s your favorite movie. Why?
MS: The Goonies. It always reminds me of the magic of film (and being a kid!)
CLV: Wayne’s World. It’s all about friendship and doing what you love.
What are some overlooked films that you think more people should see?
MS: After Hours, Mr. Boogedy, Hell Comes to Frogtown.
CLV: Pontypool, Bad Times At The El Royale, Society.
What scares you the most?
CLV: Climate change.
What scares other people that doesn’t scare you?
MS: Anything that is obviously computer generated.